WOOL: How are you nurturing the culture of innovation at AMP?
Tzipi: At AMP, we host a bi-monthly hackathon called 'Push It'. It fosters a culture of innovation and customer-centricity by empowering employees to solve customer problems quickly and creatively. Using Net Promoters Score (NPS) data as the starting point, employees are encouraged to redirect their time to solving a customer problem of their choice. Our people design capabilities in customer-centric, iterative ways through the use of agile and human-centered design techniques. We rotate between 'Pitch It' and 'Push It' every two months. 'Pitch It' is all about pitching the customer challenge you want to solve and getting the right skills and experience on your team to help you solve that problem a month later during ‘Push It’. The latter is when you get a self-forming, cross-functional team to work collaboratively to solve some of the biggest pain points of the customers. This encourages learning experimentation, collaboration, energy, fun and engagement amongst teams. The teams then, through 90-second compelling pitches, share with a broad audience how their innovative efforts helped solve a customer's pain points.
So far, this year we've enhanced 2 million customer journeys through 'Push It'. We also have 'Amplify', which is Australia's top business and innovation platform for exploring technology, thought leadership and customer culture with some of the world's boldest thinkers. In 2017, over 4,000 people connected with over 60 global thought leaders to explore the mega-trends that will impact business in five to 10 years, from now. In the near-term 'Amplify' delivers outcomes for AMP and for our customers by helping solve business challenges, informing our strategy, and delivering innovative prototypes that help transform our technology roadmap.
WOOL: Is your passion towards STEM an initiative to make the tech industry more inclusive for women? How can more women be encouraged to work in these fields?
Tzipi: I'm passionate about raising awareness around STEM careers and encouraging students to pursue them. This will help them build skills that will open up the scope of opportunities, and connect them with the in-demand digital workforce. I think it's important for leaders and parents to share their experiences and career journeys with the younger and less-experienced lot. When you become a mentor to someone, he/she gets a new insight into how things work at different levels, and will learn things that will make him/her a better manager and leader.
When I finished high school, I wasn't sure what wanted to do. I did two years of (mandatory) service in the army with the Intelligence unit which was the first time I learned about computer processing. I led a team of 10 people at a young age of 18, which was a breakthrough moment for me. This was also key to developing my logical thinking abilities. By increasing the number of women in STEM, we are automatically adding diversity to STEM occupations. This ultimately results in increased creativity and innovation, fueled by diverse perspectives on issues and ways to solve them.
Let me give you an example of how women in STEM have made differences in people's lives. The airbags in cars were originally designed in such a way that they protected adult males but not smaller body frames of women and children. However, women engineers introduced changes that made a difference in this product safety feature. Programs like 'Day of STEM', from Life Journey which AMP sponsors, are critical to this journey. We need to promote more awareness around the value that women in STEM careers bring from a practical perspective-not just by talking about it, but also by sharing practical examples.
The value of mentorship is irreplaceable—teaming up with a mentor is a career strategy that can bring huge benefits, especially to women in unbalanced work environments like engineering. We need to expose young girls to STEM fields and encourage those who are interested to follow their hearts and minds. Correcting the negative perceptions that girls develop at a young age can lead them to embrace math and science when they reach high school, rather than avoiding the subjects. I was lucky to have my parents constantly encourage me to do what I love, not be afraid of trying new things and developing my logical skills.
By increasing the number of women in STEM, we are automatically adding diversity to STEM occupations. This results in increased creativity and innovation, fuelled by diverse perspectives on issues and ways to solve them.
WOOL: Today, tech companies are spending millions to improve the conditions for female employees. Yet there are biases and the 'bro culture' still exists. How is AMP maintaining a balance?
Tzipi: I personally draw a lot of inspiration from the movie, Hidden Figures, which I recommend for everyone to watch! I have learnt immensely from the women at NASA and there are nine key learnings on diversity, inclusion and leadership that every leader and organization can imbibe:
1. Remove obstacles for your team
2. Strive to be more inclusive to get access to a greater talent pool
3. Dare to be the 'ﬁrst'!
4. Remember that small gestures go a long way in creating a sense of belonging
5. Understand that even with the best intentions, biases can make your team feel unwelcomed
6. Apologize when you mess up
7. Use your privilege to empower someone
8. Support others-it is the best way to help yourself
9. Focus on performance, and it will automatically give way to diversity
At AMP, our focus on diversity and inclusion is embedded in how we operate and how we make decisions. We're constantly iterating and trialing new methods to advance our work in this space. This includes regular events and discussions with leading organizations, mentoring programs, and ongoing communications, to keep inclusion and diversity "front of mind" for our people. I am committed to sponsoring individuals who I feel have the potential to grow and develop. They can be at any level of their career-they just need to be passionate about their work and be open to feedback! The reason for this could be attributed to the fact that I was fortunate to get sponsors in my career-leaders who believed in me and encouraged me through my successes and failures. I, too, was always open to guidance.
WOOL: What is the biggest mistake that organizations make today while marketing their products?
Tzipi: Blockchain will be fundamentally important to not just banking but to commerce in general. Much in the same way as the internet was. To some degree, it will change the trust equation over time.
WOOL: Tell us about the Code Camp that you have recently had at AMP?
Tzipi: We recently hosted a Code Camp where employees could bring their kids to work for a day and help them learn to code. The class is a fantastic way to give young people a taste of technology and learn about the skills of the future. They gain an insight into what a career in STEM might look like. Moreover, kids develop transferable skills that can be valuable to any industry. So, not only do they learn about game design and user experience in a fun and creative way, they also develop their logical thinking and problem-solving skills.
WOOL: How did you create a culture of empathy and open feedback within the organization?
Tzipi: Leadership is key. You need to build a team, build trust and encourage high performance. But this can often be challenging as motivation is a tricky thing to nail down. What your team wants is real-time, heartfelt, consistent and timely peer-to-peer recognition and feedback. Receiving this recognition helps build morale and increases collaboration. I have championed and implemented a peer-to-peer recognition program/app called PLAY that ties back to AMP’s values. This program provides a platform for teams to recognize each other, and enables us to encourage a positive culture of reward and recognition. It provides an interactive, gamified recognition tool that encourages our teams to reward behaviors that are reflective of AMP values. PLAY is accessible both on and off-site using desktops, tablets or smartphones and allows people to recognize their peers by giving spot awards for great performance. Awards are real-time, and based on key activity.
According to Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook, there is one thing that leaders look for when considering whether or not an employee has the ability to grow with the company - "Someone who takes feedback well, because people who can take feedback well are people who can learn and grow quickly"